Trickle Downers

The Prospect's ongoing exposé of the folly, dysfunctions, and sheer idiocy of feed-the-rich economic policies.

Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation.

Trickle Downers

Mark Meadows Wants the AHCA to Take Even More from the Poor

The House Freedom Caucus leader—our Trickle Downer of the Week—wants to allow states to undo preexisting condition protections and thin out health-care coverage, exacerbating the deep policy inequities of the AHCA. 

(CQ Roll Call via AP Images) Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, walks through Statuary Hall in the Capitol on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. B ut seriously—there is nothing Republicans won’t do to secure tax cuts for the rich. It was only two weeks ago that the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare (after seven years of presumable preparation) ended in complete failure, leaving Speaker Paul Ryan to meekly state, “Doing big things is hard.” Trump and congressional Republicans seemed content to leave the American Health Care Act’s wreckage in their rearview mirror as they headed for greener, seemingly less divisive, pastures: tax reform. That now seems to have been a head fake. Last week, party leaders revealed that the Obamacare repeal is back on the table and negotiations are again under way—an indication that Ryan knows the only way to make his steep tax cuts revenue-neutral is to first repeal Obamacare , and that he is ready to accede to even more...

By Blocking Medicaid, Brownback Shows There is No Limit to His Trickle-Down Folly

The Kansas governor—our Trickle Downer of the Week—vetoed Medicaid expansion legislation, capping his tenure with one more outburst of cruelty.

(Thad Allton/Topeka Capital-Journal via AP) Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, right, along with Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer participates in a humanitarian award ceremony Thursday, March 9, 2017, at the statehouse in Topeka, Kansas. K ansas Governor Sam Brownback can’t seem to take a hint. After six years of his using his state as a petri dish for trickle-down economic experiments—with deep tax cuts begetting even deeper budget cuts—he has sparked a political mutiny. In November, fed-up Kansans voted in a slew of moderate Republicans and Democrats to the legislature to serve as a check against the governor. The Dems and the mods have since formed a governing coalition that is rebelling against Brownback’s radical political agenda. On Tuesday, state senators passed legislation approving an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program through the ACA that would cover 150,000 previously ineligible low-income Kansans. But, on Thursday, Brownback vetoed the expansion, claiming it would be fiscally...

Trump Eviscerates Federal Contracting Rules

The president just repealed an Obama executive order to prevent bad employers from getting federal contracts. Next up? The rest of Obama’s labor rules.

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) Workers watch a christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works from the bow of the future USS Michael Monsoor in Bath, Maine. R epublicans may not be adept at health-care legislation, but they are proving themselves immensely skilled at dismantling labor protections. Using the Congressional Review Act, an obscure legislative tactic that allows Congress to repeal recently enacted regulations with a simple majority and could forbid future administrations from promulgating similar rules, Republicans are rapidly unraveling a series of President Obama’s pro-worker rules that enraged powerful business associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. President Donald Trump is more than willing to facilitate the destruction of his predecessor’s legacy of worker protections. On Monday, behind closed doors and without his typical fanfare, Trump signed Congress’s repeal of Obama’s Fair Pay, Safe Workplaces executive order that would have mandated that companies with...

The Cosmological and Temporal Implications of the GOP Tax Cut in the AHCA

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik House Speaker Paul Ryan calls on a member of the media during a news conference following a GOP party conference at the Capitol. W e fail to appreciate the depth of thought that has gone into House Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, which may be brought to a vote today if there are enough Republican votes to pass it. Well, not the original, pre-amendment bill, which would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by 24 million and cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans by nearly half a trillion dollars over the next decade. No, what’s elevated the bill to the forefront of contemporary physics is an amendment pushed by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican. Ryan’s original legislation repealed the 3.8 percent tax that Obamacare imposed on capital gains, dividend, and interest income for individuals with annual incomes of $200,00 or higher, or families with annual incomes of $250,000...

Mick Mulvaney: Trickle Downer of the Week

Trump’s budget chief is testing just how far one can go to peddle feed-the-rich economic policies. 

(AP/Andrew Harnik) Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks about President Donald Trump's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year during a daily press briefing at the White House. E veryone knew that Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, is a Tea Party darling and notorious budget deficit hawk. But in recent days, he’s exceeded expectations and proven himself to be one of the most radical members of the cabinet (and given this cabinet, that’s no small achievement). As he works to sell Trump’s draconian budget cuts and regulatory rollbacks, he’s pushing the limits of just how callous and illogical a politician can be in service of advancing trickle-down economics. He made a lot of hay last week in a press conference on Trump’s “skinny budget” proposal that calls for deep cuts to social service programs while bolstering military spending. Mulvaney justified proposed cuts to federal programs that provide food after school to low-income kids by saying...

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